Return to Video

NOT YET SYNCED - Kamma without Belief

  • 0:00 - 0:05
    Because we're doing live-streaming
    internationally now I'll try and aim
  • 0:05 - 0:09
    for slightly shorter talks,
    maybe 45-50 minutes
  • 0:09 - 0:13
    so we can give more
    opportunities for questions,
  • 0:13 - 0:19
    especially when they come from overseas.
    So it'll be a bit shorter this time.
  • 0:19 - 0:23
    But first of all please if everyone can come in,
  • 0:23 - 0:31
    sitting outside or standing outside,
    again there's lots of space in the front.
  • 0:42 - 0:48
    And the subject of the talk is another
    suggestion which was sent to me on the internet,
  • 0:48 - 0:54
    but please if we can stop more suggestions
    on the internet because we've got enough
  • 0:54 - 1:00
    suggestions now for talks for the next year.
    [laughs]
  • 1:00 - 1:07
    So maybe we can stop it for at least a month or so,
    but I've added that because it makes it possible
  • 1:07 - 1:13
    to give talks for people which are relevant,
    and the topic which, the first one which
  • 1:13 - 1:22
    came through was they wanted me to talk on
    the Buddhist idea of karma but how we can
  • 1:22 - 1:26
    understand that, not just through belief,
    but through some experience
  • 1:26 - 1:32
    or some deeper understanding,
    because the problem with modern life,
  • 1:32 - 1:38
    you are asked to believe in so many things
    and sometimes what we are asked to believe in
  • 1:38 - 1:44
    doesn't make much sense, and you may say
    the same with the Law of Karma.
  • 1:44 - 1:49
    Do we have to believe in that or if it's
    something we just have to believe in then
  • 1:49 - 1:55
    you're not going to get involved in such things,
    because beliefs are very uncertain.
  • 1:55 - 2:01
    But can we really understand it much more
    deeper without the need to rely upon belief?
  • 2:01 - 2:07
    And of course the first thing I always like
    to impress with this Law of Karma is the
  • 2:07 - 2:11
    usual simplistic idea that kamma means if
  • 2:11 - 2:15
    you punch your mother when you were young,
    you're going to have to have, you know,
  • 2:15 - 2:19
    hay fever in your nose for the
    rest of your life. [laughter]
  • 2:19 - 2:23
    Or, you know, that simplistic idea that
    whatever you're experiencing now it means
  • 2:23 - 2:28
    because you've done something similar to
    somebody else in the past.
  • 2:28 - 2:35
    That idea of like action and punishment is
    something which never made sense to me at all.
  • 2:35 - 2:44
    So don't even just not believe in that, reject that,
    because that is far too naive and simplistic.
  • 2:44 - 2:52

    And in fact, you know, when we try and find out
    why this is happening to me? What did I do?
  • 2:52 - 2:57
    Or why does this always happen to me?
    Is this some kamma I did in the past?
  • 2:57 - 3:05
    It's not very helpful because you can't
    work out why these things are happening to you..
  • 3:05 - 3:10
    Actually you’ll probably find out they happen
    to me as well and to the person sitting next to you.
  • 3:10 - 3:15
    This is just the nature of life - these things happen!
  • 3:15 - 3:23
    So you’ve seen that on the back of the posters.
    There's a lot of wisdom you see when you're
  • 3:23 - 3:28
    driving down the freeway on the back of
    other people's cars, you know, that shit happens,
  • 3:28 - 3:35
    but it mostly comes from assholes
    as they say [laughter].
  • 3:35 - 3:42
    But yeah it happens and we've all got
    an asshole, haven't we? [laughter]
  • 3:42 - 3:44
    It's all part of us which is
    nasty and mean sometimes..
  • 3:44 - 3:50
    But - just thinking about that,
    it doesn't really help..
  • 3:50 - 3:53
    It may for some people think
  • 3:53 - 3:59
    “oh, why this happens is because I must’ve
    done something bad in the past”.
  • 3:59 - 4:06
    That gets very negative and gets into this
    thing about being bad, and so it gets into
  • 4:06 - 4:12
    the guilt trips and that's something which
    I've tried to get out of my life and try to
  • 4:12 - 4:15
    encourage other people to get rid of.
  • 4:15 - 4:19
    I'm going to say another story which is
    very similar, which you've heard before,
  • 4:19 - 4:24
    but which I'm going to bring back into
    this whole idea of karma,
  • 4:24 - 4:29
    about what happens when you think you’ve
    got some trouble or difficulty,
  • 4:29 - 4:38
    and that was every time I went to the doctor
    I felt guilty.
  • 4:38 - 4:43
    Years and years and years ago, I had,
    I think, some sort of sickness and never
  • 4:43 - 4:47
    found out exactly what it was about,
    over 20 years ago now,
  • 4:47 - 4:52
    the last time I was really sick..
    And I went to the doctors and I was sitting
  • 4:52 - 4:56
    there in the doctor's surgery in Byford
    waiting for the doctor to call me in,
  • 4:56 - 5:03
    and somebody who knew me came into the
    doctor's surgery and they saw me,
  • 5:03 - 5:08
    this monk, who meditates,
    who lives a nice peaceful lifestyle,
  • 5:08 - 5:13
    who doesn't get involved in the stresses
    of normal life, and they looked at me and they said
  • 5:13 - 5:18
    “I never expected to see you in here!”
    [laughter].
  • 5:18 - 5:23
    And I felt really guilty - maybe I wasn't
    eating enough brown rice,
  • 5:23 - 5:25
    maybe I wasn't exercising..
  • 5:25 - 5:28
    I'm supposed to be a monk!
    I'm supposed to be healthy,
  • 5:28 - 5:33
    living a good lifestyle, and he made me
    feel guilty about being in a doctor's surgery.
  • 5:33 - 5:39
    Okay, if I was in a pub or a brothel
    or something then and I should feel guilty [laughter],
  • 5:39 - 5:44
    but what's wrong with being in a
    doctor's surgery!? It's part of life.
  • 5:44 - 5:51
    And that was the situation, the incident
    where I started to teach people:
  • 5:51 - 5:57
    look there is nothing wrong with being sick!
    And to make that point,
  • 5:57 - 6:04
    I've done this exercise in all these talks
    I’ve been giving, asking people can you
  • 6:04 - 6:09
    please put your hand up right now
    if you've never been sick in your life,
  • 6:09 - 6:11
    not once being sick.
  • 6:11 - 6:15
    Is there anybody right now who has never
    been sick in their life so far?
  • 6:15 - 6:20
    And you may not see this on the internet
    but there's not one person in this crowd
  • 6:20 - 6:26
    of about three hundred who’s got their hand up.
    The reason is because you've all been sick in life.
  • 6:26 - 6:32
    And imagine if you've never been sick,
    you've been a human being and all these years
  • 6:32 - 6:36
    you've lived you've never had a day of
    sickness in your life, you would be weird,
  • 6:36 - 6:43
    you'd be so strange that the medical
    establishment will get you into their
  • 6:43 - 6:46
    universities and do all sorts of tests on you.
  • 6:46 - 6:49
    “What's wrong with you?
    You haven't been sick.”
  • 6:49 - 6:58
    So the point of that simile is that
    sickness is natural, sickness is ordinary,
  • 6:58 - 7:04
    in fact there must be something right
    with you - you're sick again.
  • 7:04 - 7:10
    And I've been teaching that for such a
    long time there are many doctors here in
  • 7:10 - 7:14
    Perth who come and tell me
    “yes somebody came into our surgery today
  • 7:14 - 7:18
    and they said ‘doctor there's something
    right with me, I'm sick again’,
  • 7:18 - 7:20
    it must be one of your disciples Ajahn Brahm”.
    [laughter]
  • 7:20 - 7:27

    But look, the reason why we do that,
    we say “doctor there's something right with me,
  • 7:27 - 7:36
    I'm sick” is to take this negativity away
    from the difficulties and problems of life.
  • 7:36 - 7:44
    There's nothing wrong with being sick,
    there's nothing wrong with having a problem in life.
  • 7:44 - 7:50
    But if we think it's something wrong,
    that I'm being punished for a bad thing
  • 7:50 - 7:58
    I did and that's Karma. No no no.
    It's not a punishment thing,
  • 7:58 - 8:03
    it's not that something's wrong.
    This is part of human life.
  • 8:03 - 8:10
    You'll be sick sometimes even if you do
    eat brown rice, if you are totally vegetarian,
  • 8:10 - 8:15
    if you exercise and you eat..
    how many vegetables are you supposed to eat every day?
  • 8:15 - 8:19
    And pieces of fruit? Five vegetables?
  • 8:19 - 8:22
    Even if you eat six vegetables every day,
    you can still get sick!
  • 8:22 - 8:26
    So the point is
    there's nothing wrong with being sick,
  • 8:26 - 8:31
    even if you're a really really really
    good wife, you do all the right things,
  • 8:31 - 8:33
    still your husband argues with you
    [chuckles].
  • 8:33 - 8:43
    If you bring up your kids and do all
    the right things, still they drive you crazy.
  • 8:43 - 8:48
    So is there something wrong with your kids?
    Is there something wrong with youth today?
  • 8:48 - 8:52
    There is nothing wrong with youth today,
    that's what they're like!
  • 8:52 - 8:58
    That's what marriage is like,
    there's nothing wrong with your marriage!
  • 8:58 - 9:06
    Even if you're getting divorced this weekend
    [laughter], this is part of life.
  • 9:06 - 9:11
    So we don't say “there's something wrong
    with me lawyer, I'm getting divorced today”,
  • 9:11 - 9:13
    “there's something right with me,
    I'm getting divorced!”
  • 9:13 - 9:14
    0:09:13.600,0:09:22.500
    So what we're doing there is we’re accepting
    these things are part of life.
  • 9:22 - 9:30
    When we say there's something wrong,
    whether our marriage is broken up, what happens?
  • 9:30 - 9:36
    Guilt, anger, blame, fighting and those are
    the things which I'm trying to dismantle,
  • 9:36 - 9:39
    take away from life.
    No guilt, no anger,
  • 9:39 - 9:48
    to say that this is happening to me right now,
    this is part of life, no more than
  • 9:48 - 9:51
    “there’s something wrong with me,
    I'm sick again doctor”,
  • 9:51 - 9:55
    “there's something right with me,
    I'm sick”,
  • 9:55 - 9:57
    “there's something right with me,
    there's a problem in my life”,
  • 9:57 - 10:02
    “there's something right with me,
    it's a difficulty of my finances.”
  • 10:02 - 10:08

    So this is taking that law of karma and
    seeing it in a far deeper, much better way.
  • 10:08 - 10:13
    Not that we're blaming ourselves because
    something bad we did in the past,
  • 10:13 - 10:19
    yeah it's got its causes, but the point is
    when we say there's something right with me,
  • 10:19 - 10:23
    I'm having a problem in my life,
    it takes away the guilt,
  • 10:23 - 10:26
    it takes away the anger
  • 10:26 - 10:32
    and why is it right - because
    when it's right it gives you
  • 10:32 - 10:36
    the opportunity, embracing it,
    learning from it, growing from it.
  • 10:36 - 10:38
    0:10:38.200,0:10:44.500The other karma simile,
    which is a very important one,
  • 10:44 - 10:51
    it was so important that the book, you know,
    which I just saw the Buddhist Society,
  • 10:51 - 10:56
    what was it… the Korean edition,
    it just got a $5,000 cheque this week
  • 10:56 - 10:59
    from the Korean edition of
    “Opening the Door of your Heart”.
  • 10:59 - 11:01
    You're making a fortune out of me!
    [laughter]
  • 11:01 - 11:09
    But in the American edition of that book
    it was called
  • 11:09 - 11:13
    “Who ordered this truckload of dung?”
    Instead of “Opening the Door of your Heart”
  • 11:13 - 11:18
    it had a different title,
    which is important because it means that
  • 11:18 - 11:23
    people buy both books,
    not realizing they're the same [laughter].
  • 11:23 - 11:27
    Excellent marketing, but doesn’t matter,
    it's all good charity work.
  • 11:27 - 11:33
    But that simile on the front of that book
    which is suggesting that these things
  • 11:33 - 11:37
    which happen to us in life,
    yeah there's something right with me,
  • 11:37 - 11:42
    I've got more dung now,
    I've got more shit,
  • 11:42 - 11:51
    I've got more to learn from, to grow from,
    and this is one of the most important things
  • 11:51 - 11:53
    about the Law of Karma -
    when you're having a good time,
  • 11:53 - 11:55
    marvelous, enjoy it,
  • 11:55 - 11:58
    there's nothing wrong with enjoying
    yourself and being happy.
  • 11:58 - 12:04
    Even last week somebody came to the
    monastery in Serpentine and I had to spend
  • 12:04 - 12:09
    a long time counselling them because
    there was nothing going wrong in their life,
  • 12:09 - 12:13
    they're having a wonderful life and
    they felt so guilty, they felt so bad,
  • 12:13 - 12:18
    they were just having a wonderful relationship,
    a nice job, plenty of money, good health,
  • 12:18 - 12:21
    enjoying themselves in a peaceful country,
    they felt so bad about that.
  • 12:21 - 12:26
    Come on!
    I've been working hard to
  • 12:26 - 12:29
    get you into that state and now you get there,
    you’re having a good life and everything
  • 12:29 - 12:34
    is going well and then you still complain!
    [laughter]
  • 12:34 - 12:38
    And so I said,
    “look, it's alright to be happy”,
  • 12:38 - 12:45
    and in fact some years ago I was
    counseling another person having a
  • 12:45 - 12:50
    very good time but they felt guilty about it,
    so on our monastery letterhead,
  • 12:50 - 12:53
    you know, nice letterhead,
    Bodhinyana Monastery Serpentine,
  • 12:53 - 12:58
    I typed out a letter and I signed it,
    and it was a license.
  • 12:58 - 13:02
    I said this is a happiness license
  • 13:02 - 13:06
    “I, Ajahn Brahm, Spiritual Director of
    the Buddhist Society of Western Australia
  • 13:06 - 13:09
    hereby grant you permission to be happy”
    and I signed that for her [laughs],
  • 13:09 - 13:16
    so they could put it on their wall and
    they can remind themselves
  • 13:16 - 13:22
    actually there’s nothing wrong with being happy.
    Don't feel guilty about that.
  • 13:22 - 13:28

    So the happiness, it’s karma or something,
    whatever, here it is, enjoy it,
  • 13:28 - 13:35
    have fun with it, don't worry about it.
    And if you can enjoy that happiness then
  • 13:35 - 13:40
    you maybe also be able to say the same thing
    about giving yourself permission
  • 13:40 - 13:42
    to have a problem as well.
  • 13:42 - 13:49
    There's nothing wrong with that either,
    both are this wonderful thing called life,
  • 13:49 - 13:53
    they're part of life, so we love the
    whole lot - having happiness - great.
  • 13:53 - 13:57
    When you're having difficulty -
    learn from it, grow from it.
  • 13:57 - 14:02
    It is shit, it smells, it stinks,
    that's what some people think,
  • 14:02 - 14:08
    but it's great for your fertilizer
    for your garden.
  • 14:08 - 14:14
    We have a big compost pile in our monastery.
    All the excess food which doesn't
  • 14:14 - 14:20
    get eaten we put it in that compost pile
    and we get some manure from the prison farm
  • 14:20 - 14:25
    up the road and we dig it in there,
    and some of these people they love getting
  • 14:25 - 14:29
    in the compost, digging all the shit up
    and they stink for days but they love it,
  • 14:29 - 14:36
    so it must be something about shit which
    is quite lovable, and adorable,
  • 14:36 - 14:42
    and they love it because they know that
    that's going to make this beautiful garden
  • 14:42 - 14:48
    and that was the whole point of
    that truckload of dung simile.
  • 14:48 - 14:52
    That when things actually happen in life,
    instead of blaming,
  • 14:52 - 14:57
    “oh it's my kamma, I've done terrible things,
    stupid me, why did I do this?”
  • 14:57 - 15:04
    and getting depressed,
    in other words getting guilt and
  • 15:04 - 15:09
    shoving it all on yourself,
    or the other one, getting angry and bitter,
  • 15:09 - 15:14
    “it's his fault, it's her fault,
    it's the government’s fault,
  • 15:14 - 15:16
    it's a system fault,
    down with the system!”
  • 15:16 - 15:20
    No, that's not part of Buddhism.
  • 15:20 - 15:23
    We don't believe in suicide bombers.
  • 15:23 - 15:25
    Actually there's a joke about suicide bombers.
  • 15:25 - 15:32
    In the suicide bomber training camp,
    somewhere in this sort of the Middle East,
  • 15:32 - 15:38
    on the last lesson the instructor called
    all these potential suicide bombers together
  • 15:38 - 15:43
    and said “I'm now going to demonstrate
    the suicide vest and please listen carefully
  • 15:43 - 15:52
    because I'm only going to tell you this once”.
    [laughter]
  • 15:52 - 15:57
    Anyway if you don't understand then ask
    a person who laughed sitting next to you.
  • 15:57 - 16:04
    Can only do a practical demonstration once, okay.
  • 16:04 - 16:09
    Anyway back to the...what was I telling anyway,
    I just got lost in my jokes..
  • 16:09 - 16:16
    But yeah back to the story about the shits,
    the difficulties in life, instead of just
  • 16:16 - 16:21
    getting angry at yourself or angry at others
    which causes all this violence in this world,
  • 16:21 - 16:28
    we accept this and the real law of karma,
    the one you don't have to have faith in,
  • 16:28 - 16:33
    you don't have to believe in,
    the one you can try out and my goodness
  • 16:33 - 16:37
    it really works, say
    “Here I am with this difficult problem,
  • 16:37 - 16:42
    it's shitty, it's difficult
    but what can I do about it?
  • 16:42 - 16:47
    What can I do with it?”
    And you'll find out once you embrace
  • 16:47 - 16:49
    the problems in life
    and the happiness in life
  • 16:49 - 16:54
    and embrace both, this is life,
    enjoy the problems and
  • 16:54 - 16:57
    work with the difficulties,
    dig them in, make something happen,
  • 16:57 - 17:04
    and you'll find that the difficulties
    and problems in life that is where you
  • 17:04 - 17:09
    really really grow and become this
    incredibly powerful wise compassionate being.
  • 17:09 - 17:14
    And it's not just for others,
    it's for yourself as well.
  • 17:14 - 17:19
    It's the shit which grows the flowers and
    which gives the sweetness to the fruit and
  • 17:19 - 17:23
    gives all the scents in a garden.
    That's what happens.
  • 17:23 - 17:31
    So the Law of Karma means
    “what am I doing with what I've got”?
  • 17:31 - 17:34
    And the other nice thing about the
    law of karma which I've been really
  • 17:34 - 17:41
    pushing recently is
    where is karma made?
  • 17:41 - 17:47
    The whole idea of karma is a cause-and-effect,
    it gives you a sense of control,
  • 17:47 - 17:52
    especially your past you can’t do much
    about your past, it’s finished,
  • 17:52 - 17:56
    it's done, you all know that,
    but your future lies ahead of you and
  • 17:56 - 18:01
    you've got this whole vista of possibilities.
  • 18:01 - 18:09
    Now some of you think oh, not me,
    I can't do this, I've stuffed up all my life,
  • 18:09 - 18:13
    I'm going to stuff up again,
    that is not the law of karma.
  • 18:13 - 18:17
    The law of karma is
    “here I am, come to this particular spot
  • 18:17 - 18:24
    and the law of karma means you can make
    anything out of what you've got”.
  • 18:24 - 18:26
    Out of shit you can make a garden,
  • 18:26 - 18:30
    out of happiness you can make
    so many other people happy.
  • 18:30 - 18:36
    Whatever you have to deal with,
    the future is totally open to you.
  • 18:36 - 18:39
    When I realised that,
    I realised that my goodness,
  • 18:39 - 18:42
    I am not restricted or limited at all.
  • 18:42 - 18:48
    The possibilities of your life are
    totally open and free.
  • 18:48 - 18:53

    And sometimes I've collected stories
    of amazing things which happen to people.
  • 18:53 - 18:59
    One of these stories that I was talking
    about to some of the monks earlier
  • 18:59 - 19:04
    about a week or two ago,
    because it was this story of this young
  • 19:04 - 19:09
    guy who was run away when he was very very young,
    and he reminded me of this story which
  • 19:09 - 19:16
    I read in a newspaper or magazine about
    this little kid in Los Angeles who ran away
  • 19:16 - 19:23
    when he was only five years of age.
    And he ran away because he was being sort of
  • 19:23 - 19:30
    hurt by his friends and he'd been beaten
    by the people supposed to be looking after him.
  • 19:30 - 19:35
    He ran away and he lived on the streets of
    Los Angeles from the time he was 5 years of age.
  • 19:35 - 19:42
    He was a survivor and obviously to survive,
    you know, he had to get into petty crime
  • 19:42 - 19:47
    and he went into some juvenile detention
    many times and one thing led to another -
  • 19:47 - 19:55
    he became a career criminal and in and out
    of jail on petty crimes and the event which
  • 19:55 - 20:01
    totally turned his life around,
    he was at the end of one sentence in one of
  • 20:01 - 20:08
    the terrible prisons in California and
    he had a case officer who was preparing him
  • 20:08 - 20:14
    for his parole, trying to find him a job.
    You know, what sort of job can you get to
  • 20:14 - 20:18
    a person's been in and out of jail
    for such a long time?
  • 20:18 - 20:20
    You can understand why,
    five years of age,
  • 20:20 - 20:24
    no sort-of family to look after him,
    and he survived.
  • 20:24 - 20:30
    But anyway,
    that his case officer was trying to find a
  • 20:30 - 20:34
    job for him and she knew a friend,
    now this was Los Angeles,
  • 20:34 - 20:40
    who was trying to make a movie,
    and it was like most of these movies,
  • 20:40 - 20:43
    this director was not,
    or the producer was not well known at
  • 20:43 - 20:47
    the time and he wanted to make a movie,
    gangster movie,
  • 20:47 - 20:54
    but they wanted to make it authentic,
    so that she talked this producer into hiring
  • 20:54 - 20:58
    this guy as a consultant about
    how real gangsters speak.
  • 20:58 - 21:04
    You know that was one thing he really knew,
    he'd been a gangster all his life,
  • 21:04 - 21:08
    lived on the streets,
    so he knew the language, authentic.
  • 21:08 - 21:15
    So he was released from jail and he advised
    in this movie about the language of gangsters,
  • 21:15 - 21:19
    the producer was quite impressed with him
    and actually gave him a part in the movie.
  • 21:19 - 21:26
    The director was called Quentin Tarantino,
    it was his first big break “Reservoir Dogs”,
  • 21:26 - 21:29
    apparently a very violent movie,
    I've never seen it obviously,
  • 21:29 - 21:38
    but this guy came out of prison,
    made a few million dollars out of that movie
  • 21:38 - 21:44
    and about six months after he was released from jail,
    was living in Malibu, in this big mansion
  • 21:44 - 21:47
    and he married this beautiful parole officer
    and he said he can't believe it,
  • 21:47 - 21:54
    sort of six months ago he was in jail with
    absolutely nothing, now he’s a millionaire
  • 21:54 - 21:57
    living with other film stars
    with a beautiful wife and he said just how
  • 21:57 - 21:59
    life can turn around so quickly.
  • 21:59 - 22:05
    He was obviously in the right place at
    the right time but he made use of what he knew,
  • 22:05 - 22:12
    and I kind of like that story because that
    was actually showing just how, you know,
  • 22:12 - 22:16
    your career, your life can just turn
    on a dime as they say,
  • 22:16 - 22:20
    you just don't know what's going to happen next.
  • 22:20 - 22:24
    You can't predict it,
    amazing things happen in life.
  • 22:24 - 22:31

    So that is what the law of karma means -
    keep all options open.
  • 22:31 - 22:34
    You can do anything with
    what you've got right now.
  • 22:34 - 22:42
    The point is because it's possible,
    that's why you do the very best you can,
  • 22:42 - 22:44
    there's no such thing as hopelessness.
  • 22:44 - 22:49
    Incredibly powerful, positive,
    you can do anything.
  • 22:49 - 23:00
    So where do you do your karma? Right now.
    This is a place your future is being made,
  • 23:00 - 23:05
    and probably most people they worry
    about the future, they're anxious about it,
  • 23:05 - 23:11
    they go to fortune tellers trying to predict
    the future and while they're going to
  • 23:11 - 23:15
    a fortune-teller, while they're being anxious,
    while they're worrying about the future,
  • 23:15 - 23:22
    they're not doing anything about their future,
    which is why we keep stuffing up.
  • 23:22 - 23:30

    So what I understand about the law of karma is,
    karma is what I am doing right now about my future.
  • 23:30 - 23:38
    So what can I do about my future?
    I can right now, as a monk, be peaceful,
  • 23:38 - 23:45
    be kind, be compassionate, be caring,
    be friendly, be soft, get rid of all this
  • 23:45 - 23:50
    negativity which is going to create
    a terrible future for myself if I'm negative,
  • 23:50 - 23:54
    blaming, and sort of angry at people,
    if I keep thinking
  • 23:54 - 23:59
    “Why do I always have to come and give
    a talk on a Friday night??
  • 23:59 - 24:07
    Why do I have to work during the holidays??
    Everybody else is having time off..
  • 24:07 - 24:12
    Every time since I landed on Christmas Eve
    I've been working every day,
  • 24:12 - 24:17
    answering people's problems..
    Why me?? Moan moan moan.”
  • 24:17 - 24:22
    People can do that!
  • 24:22 - 24:27
    “Why can't I retire?? I'm over 60 now,
    I've worked long enough as a monk,
  • 24:27 - 24:31
    but I'm going to have to keep working
    till I'm 70, till I'm 80,
  • 24:31 - 24:36
    that's when life really starts for
    a holy person.” [laughs]
  • 24:36 - 24:41
    So it's very easy to moan isn't it
    and get negative?
  • 24:41 - 24:46
    And I can do negativity if you really want to,
    but no, I'm not going to ruin
  • 24:46 - 24:51
    my present moment and my future by looking
    at it with these dark glasses.
  • 24:51 - 24:56
    So instead, I realised that I am making
    my future right now.
  • 24:56 - 25:01
    If I wanna have a happy future,
    if I'm gonna have a happy weekend,
  • 25:01 - 25:04
    the weekend starts now,
    right now in this moment,
  • 25:04 - 25:09
    so I'm going to be peaceful,
    I'm going to be kind, compassionate.
  • 25:09 - 25:13
    Compassion is a beautiful things because
    once you start it now, it's like a fire,
  • 25:13 - 25:17
    like one of these wildfires,
    it takes off, you know,
  • 25:17 - 25:19
    all these bushfires you see in Australia,
    it starts from a little spark,
  • 25:19 - 25:25
    one little spark of kindness
    and it takes off this whole bushfire,
  • 25:25 - 25:31
    information of kindness in society,
    now this bushfire is international,
  • 25:31 - 25:36
    the bush fire of compassion spreading,
    and being kind to yourself,
  • 25:36 - 25:38
    being kind to others,
    being forgiving for goodness sake.
  • 25:38 - 25:44
    Why am I going to destroy my future by
    carrying around the pain of the past?
  • 25:44 - 25:50
    I'm not going to do that.
    Right now in this moment,
  • 25:50 - 25:55
    this is a time I'm going to let go and forgive,
    right now this is the only time I've got,
  • 25:55 - 26:00
    all that shit of the past bye-bye,
    down the toilet where it belongs,
  • 26:00 - 26:06
    flush gurgle gurgle bye-bye -
    to be free and I do this right now because
  • 26:06 - 26:11
    now is the place my future's being made,
    that's karma.
  • 26:11 - 26:17

    Karma means work, it's making things happen.
    You don't make things happen tomorrow or
  • 26:17 - 26:22
    next week - now - and understanding
    the power of that,
  • 26:22 - 26:26
    this is the time to transform,
    this is the time you let go,
  • 26:26 - 26:29
    this is the time you're free.
  • 26:29 - 26:31
    And once you are free,
    once you walk out of jail,
  • 26:31 - 26:35
    you're out of jail forever.
    So get out of jail tonight, right now,
  • 26:35 - 26:39
    at twenty seven minutes past eight
    Western Standard Time. [laughs]
  • 26:39 - 26:41
    Now.
    When you learn how to do this,
  • 26:41 - 26:50
    now that is Karma and if you try that
    you know that works,
  • 26:50 - 26:55
    your future gets happier and happier,
  • 26:55 - 26:59
    and it's also, problem comes, great!
    Shit, let's learn from this.
  • 26:59 - 27:04

    So whatever happens in your life,
    whatever occurs to you,
  • 27:04 - 27:08
    instead of saying there's something wrong
    and getting negative,
  • 27:08 - 27:12
    it’s something right with me,
    I've got a problem again,
  • 27:12 - 27:16
    there’s something right with me,
    I have to come and give a talk
  • 27:16 - 27:19
    on another Friday night,
    there's something right with me,
  • 27:19 - 27:24
    someone's coming to ask me this counselling,
    there’s something right with me,
  • 27:24 - 27:29
    after the talk people line up,
    “Ajahn Brahm, can you please help on my marriage”.
  • 27:29 - 27:35
    I say “Why me? I’ve become a monk,
    I've never been married,
  • 27:35 - 27:42
    why'd you ask me these silly questions?”
    [laughter] I mean come on! I don't mind.
  • 27:42 - 27:47
    So that way, whatever, that's actually how
    I learn, listen to all your problems.
  • 27:47 - 27:53
    You know, I learn much more about marriage
    than if I ever got married [laughter],
  • 27:53 - 27:58
    without the suffering and the pain.
    So you learn a lot that way.
  • 27:58 - 28:01
    So this way whatever happens to you
    in life, you accept.
  • 28:01 - 28:09
    So be wary the next time you use the word “wrong”,
    stop and say “no, there's something right.”
  • 28:09 - 28:16
    “I made a mistake.”
    That's the other thing, making mistakes in life,
  • 28:16 - 28:22
    how many of you have never made a mistake?
    Many people who say they've never made
  • 28:22 - 28:27
    a mistake are either liars or they’re
    demented, they've forgotten. [laughter]
  • 28:27 - 28:31
    Yeah we've all made mistakes.
  • 28:31 - 28:35
    What happens when you make a mistake?
    When you do something really stupid?
  • 28:35 - 28:39
    Do you feel embarrassed?
    No, when you make a mistake,
  • 28:39 - 28:43
    something’s right, you’re a human being.
  • 28:43 - 28:48
    Isn't that wonderful that when you make a
    mistake and other people make a mistake,
  • 28:48 - 28:52
    you think “Wow! They're the same as me.”
    Isn't that great.
  • 28:52 - 28:59
    We're allowed to make mistakes.
    That takes away a lot of guilt
  • 28:59 - 29:05
    and more importantly fear.
  • 29:05 - 29:09
    At work if you make a mistake
    what happens to you?
  • 29:09 - 29:13
    You get told off, you lose your job.
    Not in Bodhinyana Monastery where I live,
  • 29:13 - 29:14
    when people make a mistake,
  • 29:14 - 29:18
    “Well done, you’ve made a mistake,
    you're human.”
  • 29:18 - 29:22
    That's actually why the place is a mess,
    too many monks. [laughter]
  • 29:22 - 29:24
    It’s not a mess, it’s a very happy place,
    but sometimes it could be cleaner,
  • 29:24 - 29:30
    it could be more painted,
    it could be this..
  • 29:30 - 29:36
    A lot of people always give us advice on
    just how to make the compost this way,
  • 29:36 - 29:37
    and make this that way, and that way.
  • 29:37 - 29:41
    But you know the thing which I'm
    most proud about,
  • 29:41 - 29:44
    and I am proud about monasteries which
    we have here in the Buddhist Society,
  • 29:44 - 29:51
    the thing I'm most proud about this place
    is that people feel welcome.
  • 29:51 - 29:53
    You don't have to be perfect,
  • 29:53 - 29:57
    you don't have to sit like Buddhists
    in the correct posture.
  • 29:57 - 30:01
    Oh look, stop it,
    as soon as I mentioned posture a few
  • 30:01 - 30:05
    people started to lean up..
    No, why do you feel so guilty about
  • 30:05 - 30:09
    not being in the right posture?
  • 30:09 - 30:13
    Or they don't bow.
    Please if you don't want to bow don't bow,
  • 30:13 - 30:13
    don't feel guilty about anything,
    there’s nothing wrong with not bowing,
  • 30:13 - 30:18
    there’s nothing wrong with whatever you do,
    there’s nothing wrong with the kids sort of crying.
  • 30:18 - 30:22

    There was one time here,
    I will never forget this,
  • 30:22 - 30:24
    there was a lady over in the corner there
    fell asleep during one of my talks
  • 30:24 - 30:32
    and started snoring. [laughter]
    Is there something wrong about that?
  • 30:32 - 30:36
    The thing which was a mistake was when
    somebody tried to wake her up,
  • 30:36 - 30:42
    and I told them afterwards, that woman,
    because, you know, she told me that she
  • 30:42 - 30:48
    was one of these unfortunate victims of
    domestic abuse and she was so afraid
  • 30:48 - 30:54
    in her house, you know, she was not sleeping,
    so tense, and she came here in this room
  • 30:54 - 31:01
    here and this was the first place in weeks
    where she felt safe.
  • 31:01 - 31:06
    I thought that's great, it's not just the talks,
    it's the atmosphere you create here,
  • 31:06 - 31:11
    that's even more important than whatever we say.
    The fact that she could feel safe here and
  • 31:11 - 31:14
    she could lay down and
    she could actually fall asleep,
  • 31:14 - 31:18
    I thought wow what a great achievement of
    the Buddhist Society of Western Australia,
  • 31:18 - 31:23
    that you could give that feeling of
    safety and kindness and she could fall asleep,
  • 31:23 - 31:27
    and somebody woke her up,
    that was a mistake, never do that again,
  • 31:27 - 31:30
    let her sleep, she needed it.
  • 31:30 - 31:38
    Now that's what I call like making good karma.
    There's nothing wrong and if you think
  • 31:38 - 31:42
    there’s something wrong, you disturb
    a person who really needs to sleep.
  • 31:42 - 31:46
    Sometimes you make what people call mistakes,
    and how many times you've been told off
  • 31:46 - 31:49
    and then “what did I do wrong?
  • 31:49 - 31:54
    I was just...okay, I just made an error,
    made a slip but that's who I am.”
  • 31:54 - 32:00
    And it's so nice to be actually accepted
    and loved and realise,
  • 32:00 - 32:03
    no you haven't made anything wrong,
    you made a mistake,
  • 32:03 - 32:07
    but there's nothing wrong
    with making a mistake.
  • 32:07 - 32:11

    So number one we don't hide our mistakes,
    we face up to them and learn from them.
  • 32:11 - 32:14
    We don't think “no no that wasn't me,
    I didn't do that.”
  • 32:14 - 32:16
    How many times,
    we got this thing in our monastery,
  • 32:16 - 32:18
    when something goes wrong or
    something goes missing
  • 32:18 - 32:21
    we blame the kangaroos.
    Those kangaroos again,
  • 32:22 - 32:26
    they’ve stolen my cloth,
    they’ve taken it... [laughs]
  • 32:26 - 32:30
    That's why they've got these big pockets,
    you know, that's what happens,
  • 32:30 - 32:36
    you should look in those pockets sometimes.
    [laughter]
  • 32:36 - 32:41

    There was a time, years ago..
    You know, your shoes you leave outside,
  • 32:41 - 32:44
    you know the advice we always give you,
    you bring shoes to a Buddhist temple,
  • 32:44 - 32:49
    don't bring expensive designer shoes,
    because somebody's going to look at theirs
  • 32:49 - 32:53
    and look at yours and think
    “no I'll take yours thank you.” [laughter]
  • 32:53 - 33:00
    But there was the time here when people
    were losing shoes but it was really weird,
  • 33:00 - 33:07
    it was only one, one shoe of the pair.
    And this was happening for weeks,
  • 33:07 - 33:11
    it's a true story,
    we wondered what was going on?
  • 33:11 - 33:14
    Was it a one-legged man?
    We're looking at all the people with one leg
  • 33:14 - 33:17
    coming in here stealing shoes…
    [laughter]
  • 33:17 - 33:19
    And then we found out the answer,
    it was actually the dog next door. [laughter]
  • 33:19 - 33:24
    You were in here, the dog was coming in,
    he had some fetish for shoes,
  • 33:24 - 33:30
    because the owner looked in its kennel and
    the kennel was half full of shoes from you people.
  • 33:30 - 33:34
    [laughter]
    Look, the dog had just snuck up,
  • 33:34 - 33:37
    taken a shoe back every Friday night and
    after only a couple of months of that,
  • 33:37 - 33:38
    had a kennel full of shoes.
    So was that wrong?
  • 33:38 - 33:48
    Ah, that’s just a dog
    that was a bit screwed up,
  • 33:48 - 33:53
    I don't know, but it's just a dog being a dog,
    collecting things, you know,
  • 33:53 - 33:56
    you collect things,
    dogs collects things,
  • 33:56 - 33:58
    but you can't, can you blame the dog?
  • 33:58 - 34:02
    There's nothing wrong,
    it's just a dog being weird that's all.
  • 34:02 - 34:06
    Humans, you guys are weird,
    so I don't see why dogs can't be weird.
  • 34:06 - 34:09

    But what we’re actually doing there is
    realising that yeah, it's okay to make mistakes.
  • 34:09 - 34:18
    And the psychology of that is actually
    people make less mistakes when they're allowed to.
  • 34:18 - 34:23
    When you're so terrified of making mistakes,
    we call it walking on eggshells.
  • 34:23 - 34:29
    When you walk on eggshells you're not relaxed,
    you can't perform to your highest and
  • 34:29 - 34:31
    that is why people make so many mistakes.
  • 34:31 - 34:36
    So look, and I know I’ve said it before,
    that sometimes the Buddhist Society
  • 34:36 - 34:38
    of Western Australia on a Friday night
    is the best singles club in Western Australia,
  • 34:38 - 34:44
    people come up to find somebody to date.
    But if you are, [laughs],
  • 34:44 - 34:50
    if you are sort of going out with the person,
    please tell each other
  • 34:50 - 34:55
    “look, you know, girlfriend, boyfriend,
    you're allowed to make a mistake.”
  • 34:55 - 34:59
    Tell them that from the beginning
    so they can relax okay.
  • 34:59 - 35:02
    And when you relax you have
    a much better time together.
  • 35:02 - 35:06
    You can be yourself.
  • 35:06 - 35:08
    When you're so so uptight and
    you don't want to make a mistake,
  • 35:08 - 35:10
    you don't want to say the wrong thing,
    do the wrong thing,
  • 35:10 - 35:13
    ah that's just such a terrible time out together.
  • 35:13 - 35:18
    And when you get married,
    tell your darling husband,
  • 35:18 - 35:23
    “husband you are allowed to make a mistake,
    promise. Ajahn Brahm told me.”
  • 35:23 - 35:27
    Even get a piece of paper,
    you’re allowed to, and the wife,
  • 35:27 - 35:32
    you’re allowed to make mistakes,
    so you can really relax in life and understand.
  • 35:32 - 35:34

    Trust people,
    they're trying to do their best.
  • 35:34 - 35:38
    Each one of you, come on,
    you really are trying hard
  • 35:38 - 35:41
    to do your best in life.
    When you go to work you try
  • 35:41 - 35:44
    to do the best for the company,
    sometimes you make mistakes,
  • 35:44 - 35:47
    but trust people,
    they really want to do their best
  • 35:47 - 35:52
    and most people are like that,
  • 35:52 - 35:57
    even these guys I’ve seen in jail,
    in prison, give them a chance.
  • 35:57 - 36:02
    They want to do good,
    they’re trying to do the best in life
  • 36:02 - 36:04
    but sometimes the odds are stacked against them,
    and it's so difficult but underneath
  • 36:04 - 36:06
    they really want to do good,
    they want to be nice people.
  • 36:06 - 36:10
    It’s just so tough doing it,
    the whole society is pushing them,
  • 36:10 - 36:13
    you know, in the opposite direction.
  • 36:13 - 36:17
    So when you actually trust a person,
    allow them to make mistakes,
  • 36:17 - 36:19
    they don't make so many,
    they're not afraid.
  • 36:19 - 36:27
    It's that fear, guilt, punishment,
    that's the sort of stuff which messes up
  • 36:27 - 36:32
    your life and other people's lives.
    That is bad karma,
  • 36:32 - 36:38
    making mistakes is not bad karma,
    being afraid is.
  • 36:38 - 36:44
    Getting angry is bad karma,
    getting guilty that is bad karma,
  • 36:44 - 36:46
    blaming is bad karma.
  • 36:46 - 36:50
    Accepting, embracing, compassion, learning,
    looking at these things as shit,
  • 36:50 - 36:54
    digging them in, that's good kamma.
  • 36:54 - 37:01
    And I don't think you need to have faith in that,
    I think you can all understand it,
  • 37:01 - 37:06
    and you can try it out.
    And my goodness, it really really works.
  • 37:06 - 37:11
    Try that out with your kids, I don't know,
    they may have got their results from their
  • 37:11 - 37:16
    year 12 exams or other exams,
    please don't ever sort-of blame your kids,
  • 37:16 - 37:21
    “stupid kid, terrible kid, bad kid,
    you made too many mistakes in your exams.”
  • 37:21 - 37:27
    Oh, come on! That just makes them really
    feel so guilty and so terrible.
  • 37:27 - 37:31
    That may have happened to you in your life,
    well how does that feel?
  • 37:31 - 37:36
    You feel so rejected, you feel a failure
    and you're only sort of 17 years of age,
  • 37:36 - 37:41
    you're already a failure in life..
    Terrible thing.
  • 37:41 - 37:46
    No, just really build them up,
    that's why I give you tricks to build them up.
  • 37:46 - 37:51
    If your kid in year 12 who just got
    their exam results,
  • 37:51 - 38:01
    if they came in the top 5% or the bottom 5%,
    they're bad Buddhists, [laughs]
  • 38:01 - 38:06
    they're not good Buddhists,
    because what do Buddhists believe in?
  • 38:06 - 38:10
    Middle Way. Yeah.
    so they come in the middle somewhere,
  • 38:10 - 38:15
    you're a really good Buddhist. [laughter]
    In the middle, you know,
  • 38:15 - 38:23
    the big ordinary people in the middle there,
    they are the best.
  • 38:23 - 38:27
    The people who’ve come in the top 5%
    are a bit weird aren’t they?
  • 38:27 - 38:30
    The bottom 5%,
    a bit weird..
  • 38:30 - 38:32
    No they’re not, whatever, well done,
    you worked really hard.
  • 38:32 - 38:36
    If you've got all those good marks well done,
    enjoy it, you deserve it.
  • 38:36 - 38:40
    If you haven't got those good marks,
    well done,
  • 38:40 - 38:44
    sort of more shit for your garden.
    [laughter]
  • 38:44 - 38:46
    Embrace everything.
  • 38:46 - 38:51
    So when we say it’s mistakes of course
    that is where the problem comes.
  • 38:51 - 38:54
    Guilt, fear,
    “I don't want to make the mistake again”,
  • 38:54 - 38:57
    makes you tense which means
    you can't perform well.
  • 38:57 - 39:05
    So the real calm I'm talking about is
    understanding it's not what you're experiencing,
  • 39:05 - 39:09
    the difficulties, the problems,
    the happiness, the joy,
  • 39:09 - 39:13
    whatever you're experiencing in life,
    it's how you're experiencing it,
  • 39:13 - 39:18
    that is the source of karma,
    that is where karma lives.
  • 39:18 - 39:23
    So you're going through a divorce,
    that's part of life, it happens,
  • 39:23 - 39:27
    how are you going through that divorce,
    how are you doing this?
  • 39:27 - 39:32
    With anger, with guilt,
    thinking this is a big mistake in life,
  • 39:32 - 39:39
    no no it's just, this is part of life,
    it's part of your life..
  • 39:39 - 39:43
    By being sick,
    there's nothing wrong with this,
  • 39:43 - 39:47
    it happens, learn from it, grow from it,
    become better but don't get
  • 39:47 - 39:51
    into guilt and anger,
    that is the bad karma.
  • 39:51 - 39:53

    You're going through
    another problem in life,
  • 39:53 - 39:59
    you're getting a cancer or
    you have some death in the family,
  • 39:59 - 40:03
    that's not bad karma
    but if you really get into solid grief
  • 40:03 - 40:07
    about this, into denial, into anger,
    “why did this happen”,
  • 40:07 - 40:09
    looking for somebody to blame,
    blaming yourself,
  • 40:09 - 40:13
    “I should have looked after my mum,
    maybe I should've gone and called a doctor earlier”,
  • 40:13 - 40:15
    that sort of stuff,
    that's bad karma.
  • 40:15 - 40:23
    It's the way you relate to life,
    not life itself.
  • 40:23 - 40:27
    Because the way life happens,
    you just have to do a survey,
  • 40:27 - 40:32
    you know, people die.
    Is there anything wrong with dying?
  • 40:32 - 40:41
    Is there anything wrong with cancer?
    It’s part of life, we accept, embrace.
  • 40:41 - 40:45
    If it hurts, shit,
    we're going to make something out of this.
  • 40:45 - 40:50
    If you're having a great time, wonderful,
    we enjoy it.
  • 40:50 - 40:56
    But guilt, anger, denial, blaming,
    especially blaming ourselves,
  • 40:56 - 41:00
    that is a problem,
    that is the bad karma,
  • 41:00 - 41:04
    that is a cause for most of
    the misery in this life.
  • 41:04 - 41:09
    Look, when you think it's bad,
    that's why people don't get checked up in time,
  • 41:09 - 41:13
    because they're afraid, they think it's bad,
    it's terrible,
  • 41:13 - 41:17
    that's why people just get so into denial
    when someone's close to death,
  • 41:17 - 41:22
    we think “no no they can't die,
    they're too young to die,
  • 41:22 - 41:27
    they're only 90!”
    [laughter]
  • 41:27 - 41:30

    I collect all these quotes.
    There’s this quote of a person
  • 41:30 - 41:33
    who was 90 years of age,
    never had much sickness in their life,
  • 41:33 - 41:34
    in the United States.
  • 41:34 - 41:36
    I mean these are the quotes
    which I always collect,
  • 41:36 - 41:40
    one of the healthiest people you could imagine,
    they went to have a check-up when
  • 41:40 - 41:43
    they were in their early 90s,
    they discovered a tumor,
  • 41:43 - 41:49
    and they came out of the hospital saying
    “why me?” [laughter]
  • 41:49 - 41:52
    90 years of age!
    You got away with it and now you say
  • 41:52 - 41:55
    “why me?”
    But that's actually what we'd all say,
  • 41:55 - 41:57
    isn't it, if we don't really understand
    the law of Karma.
  • 41:57 - 42:04
    The law of karma is happening right now,
    you are making your future, right now,
  • 42:04 - 42:10
    by the attitude you have to
    what's happening in your life.
  • 42:10 - 42:12
    You say this is wrong,
  • 42:12 - 42:14
    there’s something wrong with me,
    I'm sick.
  • 42:14 - 42:17
    There’s something wrong with me,
    the relationship is not working out,
  • 42:17 - 42:21
    there’s something wrong with me,
    my career is not going well.
  • 42:21 - 42:27
    That is the bad karma there,
    the attitude you have to what happens in life.
  • 42:27 - 42:30
    The good karma,
    “yeah this is happening,
  • 42:30 - 42:32
    now how can I learn with this,
    how can I deal with this,
  • 42:32 - 42:33
    let's make something out of this.”
  • 42:33 - 42:38
    It's like a very simple saying which when I read it,
    I think as a student,
  • 42:38 - 42:42
    it’s an old Chinese saying,
    I wrote it down and I remembered this
  • 42:42 - 42:47
    for the rest of my life,
    the old Chinese saying
  • 42:47 - 42:52
    “it's better to light a candle
    than complain about darkness”.
  • 42:52 - 42:56
    It's a very beautiful,
    very simple saying which encapsulates
  • 42:56 - 42:58
    all which I've taught this evening.
  • 42:58 - 43:03
    It's better to light a candle
    than complain about darkness.
  • 43:03 - 43:07
    So whatever you want to complain about
    in life: your husband,
  • 43:07 - 43:10
    your wife, your kids,
    your mother-in-law,
  • 43:10 - 43:12
    people actually do point this out,
  • 43:12 - 43:13
    your father-in-law,
    I can't be sexist anymore,
  • 43:13 - 43:14
    not just mothers-in-law,
    fathers-in-law,
  • 43:14 - 43:22
    monks, nuns, whatever it is,
    instead of complaining,
  • 43:22 - 43:28
    light a candle and that's amazing thing,
    there's always many candles around to light,
  • 43:28 - 43:32
    there's always something you can do,
    something positive,
  • 43:32 - 43:35
    and sometimes just embracing and learning.
  • 43:35 - 43:39

    Sometimes people ask you
    what is the meaning of life?
  • 43:39 - 43:45
    Such a simple answer to a very deep question:
    it's learning, it’s growing.
  • 43:45 - 43:55
    Life is work in progress.
    Your life, your progress, how are you growing?
  • 43:55 - 44:02
    I don't mean just growing in size
    or in your bank account or whatever,
  • 44:02 - 44:09
    I'm growing in size, [laughter]
    but I have to grow in size to accommodate
  • 44:09 - 44:16
    my heart which is growing and growing
    and growing, [laughter], the compassion.
  • 44:16 - 44:20
    So now I’m talking about you growing
    your wisdom, you growing your compassion,
  • 44:20 - 44:22
    you’re growing your understanding of life,
    and of course that is the meaning of life.
  • 44:22 - 44:27
    And I think you don't need to believe that,
    you understand that.
  • 44:27 - 44:33

    So in the past year how much have you learnt?
    How much have you grown?
  • 44:33 - 44:36
    How much a wiser,
    kinder person have you become?
  • 44:36 - 44:42
    That's the meaning of life.
    So how do you become wise,
  • 44:42 - 44:46
    how do you become kind,
    how do you understand things?
  • 44:46 - 44:49
    Right now is where you do this.
  • 44:49 - 44:55
    This is where you build the happiness,
    even the health,
  • 44:55 - 44:59
    and the compassion,
    the wisdom and everything in life,
  • 44:59 - 45:05
    this is where karma is made,
    right now.
  • 45:05 - 45:09
    And understanding that you don't only know
    the meaning of life,
  • 45:09 - 45:14
    you know the secret of life,
    where it's hidden.
  • 45:14 - 45:19

    People look for the secret of life
    in the future with all your plans and
  • 45:19 - 45:22
    expectations and what you're going to
    achieve next, where you're going to go,
  • 45:22 - 45:25
    you look for the secret there,
    you never find anything.
  • 45:25 - 45:30
    You look for the secret in the past,
    searching over all the things which have
  • 45:30 - 45:35
    ever happened to try to find meaning
    from the mistakes of the past -
  • 45:35 - 45:39
    you never find anything except just
    anger and guilt and negativity.
  • 45:39 - 45:46

    You only find the meaning of life right now,
    this is where the secret is.
  • 45:46 - 45:52
    The secret is not a book,
    the secret is in this moment here,
  • 45:52 - 45:53
    absolutely for free.
  • 45:53 - 46:00
    I remember this Zen teacher,
    she wrote this book and I love the cover,
  • 46:00 - 46:04
    the title of the book, she called it
    “Selling Water by the River” [laughter].
  • 46:04 - 46:08
    It's a very beautiful title
    “selling water by the river”.
  • 46:08 - 46:13
    I think it's an old Zen story.
    It's stupid isn’t it?
  • 46:13 - 46:16
    You know, it's a river there,
    get your own water, but still, you know,
  • 46:16 - 46:20
    sharp people: “Do you want some water?
    You want some water?”
  • 46:20 - 46:24
    That's why we don't sell anything here
    because I feel terrible selling things,
  • 46:24 - 46:26
    because it’s all for free, it’s right here,
    right now, available for you.
  • 46:26 - 46:31
    Truth is like the air,
    no one could own it.
  • 46:31 - 46:35
    Not Buddhism,
    not Christianity,
  • 46:35 - 46:38
    not Islam,
    not philosophy,
  • 46:38 - 46:40
    not atheism,
    no one can own the air.
  • 46:40 - 46:45
    We all share it.
    You can pollute the air,
  • 46:45 - 46:50
    and people can pollute truth,
    but still there's enough truth out there,
  • 46:50 - 46:54
    just needs to be breathed in,
    it's right there,
  • 46:54 - 46:58
    in front of your nose,
    the truth of now.
  • 46:58 - 47:00
    That is how I understand karma.
  • 47:00 - 47:05
    So thank you for listening to this talk.
  • 47:05 - 47:13
    Now all those people in the far reaches of
    the universe, any questions please SMS them.
  • 47:13 - 47:19
    But first of all our local crowd,
    is there any questions about the talk this evening?
  • 47:19 - 47:28
    Okay we're going to get some questions
    from the Internet, from Ian Ternet.
  • 47:28 - 47:33
    Okay, and we can see where this is from.
    That’s why I finished a bit earlier
  • 47:33 - 47:37
    so we can get the international questions
    and also from you guys as well.
  • 47:37 - 47:40
    Denis Shephard: Okay if there's anybody
    here who’d like to ask a question,
  • 47:40 - 47:43
    certainly encourage you to do that,
    but if you wouldn't mind just to wait for
  • 47:43 - 47:47
    the roving microphone that'll come to you,
    but if you just put your hand up,
  • 47:47 - 47:50
    if you've got a question and we'll come
    to you with the microphone and then
  • 47:50 - 47:51
    everything will run seamlessly.
  • 47:51 - 47:55
    Ajahn Brahm, Agnes from Dubai has asked
    how do you motivate people who have no will to live?
  • 47:55 - 48:03
    Ajan Brahm: How do you motivate people
    who have no will to live?
  • 48:03 - 48:10
    Well look, if you want to teach them about
    reincarnation, so like you live here,
  • 48:10 - 48:13
    if you die here you
    just get reborn again anyway,
  • 48:13 - 48:19
    so you can't get out of life that easy..
    [laughter]
  • 48:19 - 48:24
    So if there was an easy way
    I'd have taken it years ago. [laughter]
  • 48:24 - 48:30
    So here you are,
    instead of having the will to live,
  • 48:30 - 48:36
    just having the will to
    be compassionate, to be kind.
  • 48:36 - 48:41
    So if you could actually state about life and say..
    because will to live is
  • 48:41 - 48:44
    the fear of the future and
    they’ve just had enough,
  • 48:44 - 48:49
    and they can't see any positivity or any hope,
    and hopefully the talk which I've given
  • 48:49 - 48:54
    this evening was actually saying there's
    nothing wrong with life.
  • 48:54 - 48:58
    Life has always been like this,
    you know, if you read history,
  • 48:58 - 49:02
    it's always been pretty much the same.
  • 49:02 - 49:06
    You know, years ago I hadn’t read a newspaper
    for a couple of years when I was in Thailand,
  • 49:06 - 49:09
    actually longer than that, about four or
    five years I hadn't seen any newspaper.
  • 49:09 - 49:12
    When I saw my first newspaper after
    four or five years break,
  • 49:12 - 49:15
    I realised all the stories were exactly the same.
  • 49:15 - 49:20
    They just changed the names of the countries,
    the names of the people,
  • 49:20 - 49:26
    but the storylines were always the same -
    violence, wars, sex, corruption, exactly the same.
  • 49:26 - 49:31
    So the world does never change,
    it’s just people's attitudes.
  • 49:31 - 49:36
    So see if we can change our attitude
    towards our life and then
  • 49:36 - 49:44
    we can find it very rich.
    It's so rich we never really want to give it away.
  • 49:44 - 49:50
    So I don't know if that answers
    your question in Dubai, but you know,
  • 49:50 - 49:55
    certainly that the will to live
    is actually the will to be kind.
  • 49:55 - 50:00
    Sometimes they ask, what actually motivates
    you Ajahn Brahm, and it’s just..
  • 50:00 - 50:05
    Actually there’s hardly any motivation
    there at all, it’s just ‘being’.
  • 50:05 - 50:10
    Because the will to live,
    you know, what do you mean “the will to live”,
  • 50:10 - 50:13
    just take away the will to live,
    the will to die,
  • 50:13 - 50:16
    the will to go anywhere and just be.
  • 50:16 - 50:22
    It's much more fun when you don't have any plans.
    Anyway, hopefully that makes some sense.
  • 50:22 - 50:28

    Denis: Thank you Ajahn Brahm
    I hope that satisfies Agnes.
  • 50:28 - 50:34
    And Reinbart from Germany,
    this is a little bit of a curly one for
  • 50:34 - 50:40
    you Ajahn and a bit off the topic but
    how can animals improve their kamma?
  • 50:40 - 50:46

    Ajahn: How can animals improve their karma,
    there's one of my friends over in Melbourne,
  • 50:46 - 50:50
    now that's Priya Mendes [?] and she’s got
    this big dog and it was Labrador wasn’t it,
  • 50:50 - 50:59
    and when I saw it, I said “what's its name”
    and she gave it the name, she's a doctor,
  • 50:59 - 51:03
    she gave it the name “Chemo”.
    Chemo the dog,
  • 51:03 - 51:05
    that's a really weird name,
    why do you name it Chemo?
  • 51:05 - 51:11
    She said “because I'm training this dog to
    be one of these dogs who goes into wards
  • 51:11 - 51:17
    with people who are very, very sick,
    because we all know that if you take a
  • 51:17 - 51:22
    little dog or a cat or a rabbit into a
    ward where people are very sick,
  • 51:22 - 51:27
    just being able to pet that dog, to stroke it,
    have this beautiful soft animal in there,
  • 51:27 - 51:32
    the compassion which a small animal or
    even a big animal generates amongst
  • 51:32 - 51:38
    human beings has a very strong positive
    effect on people's recovery.
  • 51:38 - 51:41
    They actually get better.
  • 51:41 - 51:46
    Having a beautiful dog to play with in the ward,
    it makes you sort of, gets up all your,
  • 51:46 - 51:50
    what's it called, the, not serotonin,
    all these endomorphines,
  • 51:50 - 51:53
    all this beautiful health things in your body,
    you all know better than I do...
  • 51:53 - 51:57
    but you know it really works.
  • 51:57 - 52:01
    So that's why she called her dog Chemo
    because it was short for chemotherapy,
  • 52:01 - 52:06
    that was a little joke,
    she's a good student of mine,
  • 52:06 - 52:10
    has got a stupid sense
    of humor just like me. [laughter]
  • 52:10 - 52:13
    So Chemo, Chemo the dog,
    and of course that dog went into so many
  • 52:13 - 52:16
    wards in its life,
    healing people,
  • 52:16 - 52:19
    helping people,
    that dog must have made huge amounts of
  • 52:19 - 52:24
    good karma just by generating compassion
    in other beings.
  • 52:24 - 52:32
    So that is how animals made good kamma,
    they can be just so kind and
  • 52:32 - 52:35
    so loving and so trusting,
    these beautiful qualities,
  • 52:35 - 52:42
    and you see that in the little dog or in
    a cat and they remind you how to be kind.
  • 52:42 - 52:47
    The dog never gets angry at you or upset at you.
    Usually. [laughter]
  • 52:47 - 52:54
    And why is it you have a dog and they're
    just so nice,
  • 52:54 - 53:01
    and you get a wife, [laughter]
    there's so much trouble.
  • 53:01 - 53:07
    I said that because I said husbands before
    so now it’s wives.
  • 53:07 - 53:15
    Why can't human beings be much more like
    animals in that sense, totally trusting.
  • 53:15 - 53:20
    Your dog, your cat, trusts you 100%
    and it's so forgiving of you.
  • 53:20 - 53:24
    Now if you miss a meal or something,
    yeah the dog would be a bit upset but he
  • 53:24 - 53:30
    will forgive you and still will come and
    sit on your lap afterwards.
  • 53:30 - 53:35
    Now, can your wife or your husband do that?
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that was it.
  • 53:35 - 53:43
    So that's how animals can make really good karma,
    teaching about kindness, about love, about trust.
  • 53:43 - 53:50
    And I used to teach people in Thailand,
    I said “look, at least dogs they keep
  • 53:50 - 53:56
    three of the five precepts, they keep three.”
  • 53:56 - 54:02
    Dogs don't usually kill, stealing, no no,
    adultery no no, they can't stop themselves [laughter].
  • 54:02 - 54:07
    But have you ever seen a dog lie?
  • 54:07 - 54:12
    And have you ever seen a dog drink alcohol?
    [laughter]
  • 54:12 - 54:17
    So I said at least dogs keep three precepts.
  • 54:17 - 54:22
    There's some human beings who can't keep
    any of the five precepts!
  • 54:22 - 54:27
    So you see the dogs can actually make
    much better good karma than many other people.
  • 54:27 - 54:32
    [laughs] So I've never seen a dog lie,
    I’ve never seen a dog get drunk and
  • 54:32 - 54:35
    dogs don’t kill things.
  • 54:35 - 54:41
    So dogs keep some precepts,
    so they can make good karma.
  • 54:41 - 54:45
    And also have you ever seen dogs meditating, or cats?
    Sometimes they sit next to you and
  • 54:45 - 54:52
    they're incredibly peaceful.
    And some of those cats,
  • 54:52 - 54:58
    they could sit for hours and hours and hours
    and hours, much longer than you can,
  • 54:58 - 55:03
    so maybe those cats are closer to
    enlightenment than we really think. [laughter]
  • 55:03 - 55:08
    Okay carry on, before I get into more trouble.
  • 55:08 - 55:11

    Dennis: Thank you Ajahn Brahm,
    now Sati from Boulder Colorado
  • 55:11 - 55:18
    asks what are some basic
    daily practices a layperson should do?
  • 55:18 - 55:24
    Ajahn: A daily practice is start now!
    So yeah just be kind, be compassionate.
  • 55:24 - 55:28
    It doesn't matter what you do,
    how you do it is really important.
  • 55:28 - 55:33
    So you may be just driving to work in the morning,
    how are you driving to work?
  • 55:33 - 55:38
    Are you listening to the radio and
    getting yourself all upset?
  • 55:38 - 55:42
    When you’re on the way to work
    is your mind already at work?
  • 55:42 - 55:48
    A daily practice when you drive to work is
    every time you get to the stop sign,
  • 55:48 - 55:50
    remember that's the Buddha teaching you.
  • 55:50 - 55:58
    Stop, be peaceful,
    come into the present moment, be here.
  • 55:58 - 56:05
    So all the stop signs which you see around
    the cities of the world, that is the Dhamma,
  • 56:05 - 56:12
    that is the teaching reminding you -
    stop and be here rather than
  • 56:12 - 56:16
    always moving moving moving.
    So that's one of the nice daily practices.
  • 56:16 - 56:20
    And the other daily practice -
    Emperor’s Three Questions -
  • 56:20 - 56:23
    now is always the most important time,
  • 56:23 - 56:25
    the person in front of you is always
    the most important person.
  • 56:25 - 56:30
    So in Boulder Colorado,
    the person right in front of you right now
  • 56:30 - 56:34
    and every moment of your life,
    give them importance.
  • 56:34 - 56:39
    And the only thing to do is to care.
  • 56:39 - 56:43
    The Emperor’s Three Questions -
    that's all you really need to know about life.
  • 56:43 - 56:46
    Now is the most important time,
  • 56:46 - 56:48
    the one you're with is
    the most important person,
  • 56:48 - 56:50
    and the only thing to do in life
    is to care.
  • 56:50 - 56:56

    Doesn't matter what you're doing,
    working at home by yourself,
  • 56:56 - 56:59
    if you’re by yourself,
    you are the most important person because
  • 56:59 - 57:00
    that's the one you're with.
  • 57:00 - 57:04
    Caring for yourself and caring for others
    and caring for life,
  • 57:04 - 57:10
    that's all we really need,
    that is your daily practice.
  • 57:10 - 57:16
    You can say I'll just sit meditating
    for half an hour, to do chanting,
  • 57:16 - 57:21
    to do charity work for half an hour,
    that doesn't really sort of cut much ice.
  • 57:21 - 57:25
    The thing to do… is that right “cut much ice”?
    I don't know, but it doesn't really work.
  • 57:25 - 57:27
    What really does work is developing the
  • 57:27 - 57:32
    right attitude to whatever you have to do
    in life, that should be your daily practice,
  • 57:32 - 57:35
    developing the right attitude to
    whatever you have to do. Okay.
  • 57:35 - 57:42

    Dennis: So is there any further questions
    from the room here?
  • 57:42 - 57:48

    Ajahn: Okay where are you from? [laughter]
    We’ve already got from Boulder,
  • 57:48 - 57:54
    we've got from Dubai and we got from Germany,
    and this is Eddie from Willetton. [laughter]
  • 57:54 - 58:00
    Eddie: Shelley.
  • 58:00 - 58:06
    Ajahn: Oh Shelley, close enough,
    Shelley is a suburb of Perth.
  • 58:06 - 58:10

    Eddie: Ajahn Brahm you know this karma,
    it could be like God's judgment,
  • 58:10 - 58:14
    you can call it too..
    you see there's a tendency for people when
  • 58:14 - 58:19
    there's problem to blame it on,
    when there's no way,
  • 58:19 - 58:22
    like they can’t think of anything,
    they blame it on karma...
  • 58:22 - 58:27
    But there are certain instances..
    yourself okay,
  • 58:27 - 58:32
    it's a personal thing, you can link it.
  • 58:32 - 58:36
    Could it be that I've done this,
    something wrong in my earlier life?
  • 58:36 - 58:40
    You only yourself would know,
    but most people
  • 58:40 - 58:44
    “oh punishment by God
    this thing or my karma”,
  • 58:44 - 58:48
    it’s easy to blame on that isn’t it?
  • 58:48 - 58:52
    But in certain instances
    only you will know that you can link it,
  • 58:52 - 58:56
    could it be that,
    and that’s also a learning process.
  • 58:56 - 58:56
    Ajahn: It's always a learning process;
  • 58:56 - 59:02
    the word which really
    rankles with me is punishment.
  • 59:02 - 59:07
    If there ever was a God
    they wouldn't punish anybody.
  • 59:07 - 59:10
    High beings would never punish anybody.
  • 59:10 - 59:14
    Why? Because high beings have just got
    love and compassion.
  • 59:14 - 59:22
    Love and compassion forgives,
    it would never be able to punish anybody.
  • 59:22 - 59:28
    It's really hard for me sometimes as an abbot,
    I just can't get my head around punishing anybody,
  • 59:28 - 59:32
    so I'm pretty slack sometimes and I shouldn't be,
    “you’re stupid, get out”,
  • 59:32 - 59:36
    you just can't do it.
  • 59:36 - 59:38
    And I'm not sort of God but you know,
    a high being there's no way
  • 59:38 - 59:42
    you could ever punish anybody, impossible.
  • 59:42 - 59:46
    The whole idea of punishment
    goes against compassion,
  • 59:46 - 59:50
    it is antithetic towards
    compassion and kindness.
  • 59:50 - 59:56
    It's love which teaches people,
    forgiveness which makes them grow.
  • 59:56 - 60:01
    Punishment creates fear,
    hides the problem,
  • 60:01 - 60:06
    people never admit to what they've done,
    they deny anything which has happened,
  • 60:06 - 60:12
    they spin, they just don't admit to the truth.
    Fear of punishment.
  • 60:12 - 60:19
    And there is never any truth.
    Punishment actually hides the truth.
  • 60:19 - 60:26
    Forgiveness brings the truth up
    so we can understand it and learn from it.
  • 60:26 - 60:31
    So that's why even it may be connected
    to something you've done in the past but
  • 60:31 - 60:37
    it's not punishment for what you've done in the past,
    it’s just cause and effect.
  • 60:37 - 60:41
    Yeah, this has led to this, so it means
    there's still things you have to learn.
  • 60:41 - 60:43
    You still need some more shit in your garden,
  • 60:43 - 60:49
    that's why you get another delivery.
    [laughter]
  • 60:49 - 60:53

    So that's actually how I understand it,
    but please the main point is,
  • 60:53 - 60:55
    think about it,
    if you’re really kind,
  • 60:55 - 60:58
    if you’ve really got compassion,
    how can you punish anybody?
  • 60:58 - 61:01
    And it does not work.
  • 61:01 - 61:04
    Ask any psychologist,
    someone's made a mistake,
  • 61:04 - 61:08
    I've made a mistake,
    I just want someone to understand me.
  • 61:08 - 61:13
    I was trying, please believe in me,
    trust in me, I'm trying, I made a mistake okay.
  • 61:13 - 61:18
    When somebody comes and believes in me
    and they trust me,
  • 61:18 - 61:20
    and say “never mind”, you notice.
  • 61:20 - 61:22
    “I'm behind you,
    I'm there to support you,
  • 61:22 - 61:26
    other people might sort of
    put you down and criticize you, but not me”,
  • 61:26 - 61:32
    and you feel just at last somebody
    understands and that makes you try even
  • 61:32 - 61:34
    harder to be better.
  • 61:34 - 61:40
    You actually do grow from forgiveness.
    Try it and see, forgive your kids,
  • 61:40 - 61:44
    forgive your partner in life,
    no matter what they've done.
  • 61:44 - 61:51
    They will grow, as you would hope to be
    forgiven by the people who love you.
  • 61:51 - 61:58
    That's what we have lovers for.
    A lover is someone who understands us
  • 61:58 - 62:02
    very deeply and profoundly,
    understands us enough
  • 62:02 - 62:04
    to know the importance of forgiveness.
  • 62:04 - 62:12
    So there’s somebody I can go to,
    who loves me so much that whatever I've done
  • 62:12 - 62:16
    the door to their heart
    is always open to me.
  • 62:16 - 62:21
    I had a father like that,
    that's why I loved him so much,
  • 62:21 - 62:24
    that's why I, hopefully,
    became a really good person because
  • 62:24 - 62:27
    he trusted me
    hundred and fifty thousand million percent.
  • 62:27 - 62:30
    Okay..
Title:
NOT YET SYNCED - Kamma without Belief
Description:

In this talk Ajahn Brahm takes a non-traditional approach in explaining kamma (actions and their results). The widespread idea that one's actions will result in punishment and retribution is too simplistic. So if you want to know more about kamma, listen on...

more » « less
Video Language:
English
Team:
Buddhist Society of Western Australia
Projekt:
Friday Night Dhamma Talks
Duration:
01:02:38

English subtitles

Revízie Compare revisions